GOOD NEWS / BAD NEWS
It is quite possible to lose significant amounts of weight and then have a less attractive body. I have seen it happen. A friend lost over 100 pounds, but then had loose skin on his face, neck and arms – and most likely everywhere else. He looked better and happier at his old weight.
It is imperative to do resistance exercise as you shed weight, unless you don’t care about your physical appearance, in which case your journey to better health is still a success story. But why not do it in such a manner that you look better as well.
Even with resistance exercise during weight loss, there may be loose skin with which to deal. And, with resistance exercise in an effort to regain elasticity, we may only be moderately successful. We may be able to only lessen the appearance of loose skin. But my constant mantra in most of these articles still applies – “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”.
I will be reporting on these aspects of skin tightening:
- The value of water
- Getting rid of a “turkey neck”
- Dealing with saggy skin on the backs of the arms
- Lessening loose abdominal skin
There are other areas of troublesome fat deposits, but parts shown above are among the most problematic. I am not showing information about surgical remedies for saggy skin, since my niche is about workouts. Also, I will not be describing creams or other cosmetic solutions, though I will show links to some of these so that you can read about them and decide for yourself which ones may be of interest. (I have not tried any of these).
None of this is to suggest that spot reduction is the answer to anything. It isn’t, because it doesn’t work. But skin tightening techniques may go a long way in improving your appearance.
WATER, THE MIRACLE DRINK
Paraphrasing Pure Luxe Medical, water is often underestimated as the best and most natural way to have healthy skin. Here are a few of the reasons:
- Drinking lots of water will help tighten skin over a period of time with continuous hydration
- Water will create the proper PH balance of your skin
- Water will flush out toxins within our bodies
- Water will maintain the elasticity of our skin and reduce wrinkles
- Water will clear your skin and keep it moist
General recommendations are to drink 5-8 glasses of water daily, though this can vary with your size and metabolism. I drink about 80 ounces per day, unless it is very hot, in which case I drink more. It has helped me to stop drinking diet beverages and to replace these with water, usually with added lemon juice.
Here is an image which concisely sums up the value of water:
THE DREADED “TURKEY NECK”
Necks are supported by muscles that may weaken with age or lack of use. Elasticity of the thin skin at the top of the neck is diminished. It becomes a very noticeable indicator of aging. See below:
Here are some neck exercises that will help out and reduce the likelihood of surgery. I have tried them all and have seen a difference, though I put them aside and now need to get back to them:
- Lie on your back, with head and neck slightly elevated. Then turn your head to the right, then to the left and then to the floor. Movements should be slow and controlled, never jerky. Try to feel the muscles at the front and sides of your neck as they are working. Continue for about 5 minutes unless you feel any pain. If so, stop.
- Place your hand across your collar bone. Gently pull your head back and stretch your neck. Apply a little pressure with your hand at your collar bone. Look at the ceiling in front of you, not directly overhead. Raise your bottom lip toward the ceiling and over your upper lip. Hold for several seconds and then repeat, maybe 10-12 times. Don’t worry about looking goofy (you will). See the image below:
- Sit upright, with your lips closed and with your chin facing the ceiling. The above image will also apply, except for the bottom lip. With mouth closed, simulate chewing. Do about 20–30 chews, as if you had gum in your mouth. Feel your neck muscles as they are working. Keep mouth closed.
THE BACKS OF THE ARMS
It helps to have done lots of triceps exercises, but aging can still work a number on the skin tone at the back of your arms. A quite unflattering name for loose skin at the triceps area is “bat wings”. Again, be aware of the difficulty in dealing with loose skin, but at least work to negate the appearance of sagginess.
The best exercises for tightening the bat wings are the same ones for the triceps, with attention to diet and cardio exercise as well. Here are some productive movements:
- Push-ups. These are commonly known and are shown throughout my site. Do them slowly, with a brief pause at the bottom position. An extra benefit is the engagement of the chest muscles (pectorals), along with the triceps. A more narrow placement of the hands on the surface will provide more stress directly upon the triceps, but a shoulder width position is also suitable. Remember – if you are weak in this movement, start with knees on the surface.
- Triceps “kickbacks” with dumbbells. Bend over slightly and straighten your arms at the elbows to your back. The image below demonstrates this:
- Triceps extension with dumbbell. Seated or standing, gripping one dumbbell, lower it behind your head and then raise it by straightening your elbows overhead. See below:
Use dumbbells that are appropriate for your strength level. Get a variety of sizes to accommodate strength gains, which can be rapid.
Here are a few options for dumbbells:
LOOSENESS IN THE ABDOMINAL AREA
The image below is perhaps the most attractive one I could find to show a bit of looseness in the abdominal region. There were other images that showed saggy stomachs that needed lots of work.
Abdominal exercises increase circulation in the lower abdomen and can create tighter muscles for the skin to stretch over. Lowering body fat as a percentage of your girth can definitely help in reducing saggy skin in the core area.
I have known women who have become bikini – ready at some point after childbirth. Kudos to them. This can’t possibly be easy.
As with the arms, abdominal tightening exercise is not different from the movements necessary to build muscle in the area. Calorie control and cardio exercise are also just as applicable.
Here are two excellent exercises for the “abs”:
- V-ups. On the floor, with arms outstretched behind your head and legs straightened, raise both your legs and your shoulders simultaneously to effect the shape of a V. I have found that bending my knees helps to relieve back discomfort at the finish. Do at least10-15 reps to begin and build to 30. See below (note that she is keeping her legs straight):
- Planks. With forearms and toes supporting your body, maintain this isometric position with body in straight alignment. Hold for at least 30 seconds. See below:
Don’t forget the importance of cardio exercise and diet to the abdominal area, whether building muscle or reducing loose skin.
SKIN FIRMING CREAMS AND LOTIONS
Here are some topical solutions for loose skin or cellulite:
- Slim cream
- Toning lotion
- Cellulite cream
- For crepey skin
- Face and neck firming cream
- Cellulite body oil
- Tightening mask
- Stretch mark gel
- Wrinkle smoothing serum
- Anti cellulite massage oil
Moderation of expectations may be appropriate when you consider tightening loose skin anywhere, but improvements are certainly possible. I have seen the positive results, especially with women. But dedication is a sine qua non!
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Be well and stay safe!